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Asahi Pentax Vintage Lenses – The SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4
Shooting dreamy portraits with a vintage manual focus lens can be both challenging and enjoyable. I’m using an Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4 lens that I purchased on eBay and had shipped from Japan. When compared to other modern lenses, it was much easier to achieve dreamy portraits and creamy classic Japanese-style photo effects with this old lens.
While using AF modern lenses, you get the sharpest still images, but I think it was a little boring for me because I wanted to try something different. It is worthwhile to investigate what this SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4 manual focus vintage lens can do when used for portrait photography.
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Back in the day, Asahi Pentax was one of Japan’s most prestigious brands. Takumar lenses are well-liked by many photographers and vintage lens collectors. There are many Asahi Pentax lens reviews on YouTube, but the best Takumar vintage lens is the legendary Super Takumar lens. This 1970s SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4 version cost me only $90 (approximately RM450 including shipping) on eBay.
There has been a price increase for these portrait lenses, but there are no regrets about purchasing one of these old lenses because it was well cared for by the camera lens seller.
1. Surveying For A Vintage Lens
It is simple to search for the best deal on eBay. On their profiles, look for trusted sellers with high ratings and no/few negative reviews. It is much easier to find a good old lens if the sellers are vintage lens or vintage camera collectors because they are more concerned with camera gear maintenance.
If you’re looking for a Japanese lens, look for a Japanese vintage lens seller who lives in Japan, look at all of the gear he sells, and you’ll know he’s trustworthy.
2. Getting The Correct Mount Adapter
You can find the right mount adapter for your camera brand or SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4, and some are quite cheap for an M42 mount adapter. M42 mount adapters are available on Amazon, Lazada, Shopee, and other popular camera gear websites such as B&H, K&F, KLDSLR, and many others.
If you’re a Fujifilm shooter, you’ve come to the right place. Learn and read about how to use the M42 vintage lens on Fuji X cameras and how to set up the vintage lens on Fujifilm cameras in this article.
3. Manual Focus with SMC Takumar Lenses
When we want to focus on the subject’s eyes, using manual focusing can be a pain in the a$$. It takes some time to perfect, but once we do, we can get a really nice creamy and dreamy portrait photograph.
Although it takes a little longer to focus on the eyes with this lens, the most important thing is to give yourself plenty of time to get the shot you want. Make sure your mirrorless camera has focus peaking highlights enabled.
4. Get Dreamy Portraits with Pro-Mist filter
There is a way to achieve dreamy portraits and hazy vintage effects with the SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4 or other Asahi Pentax vintage lenses straight out of the camera. A Pro-Mist filter is recommended for portrait photography; the two most popular filter brands are Tiffen Black Pro Mist, Prism Lens Dream FX, and Moment Cinebloom filter.
The pro mist filter smoothes the skin of your subject and creates dreamy portraits. This filter is appropriate for both still images and video footage. You can use it with Fujifilm’s custom film recipes for portraits to achieve a more retro/classic colour tone, and I can assure you that the final result will be stunning when shared with your audience or fans, even if it’s straight out of the camera.
5. DIY Pro Mist Lens Filter / Diffusion Filter
The Pro Mist lens filter, also known as a diffusion filter, is used to smoothen subjects’ skin and lower contrast for more dreamy effects. A diffusion filter is ideal for photographing portraits and filming cinematic video footage. These glowing and dreamy effects are frequently used in Hollywood films and music videos.
There are numerous popular Pro Mist lens filter brands available, and after researching alternative diffusion lens filters, you can actually DIY a UV lens filter into Pro Mist. Check out the video above to learn how to make your own diffusion lens filter, which will save you extra cash on other camera gear! DIY Pro Mist filter is an old method of making a diffusion filter to achieve cinematic glowing effects.
Pro Mist DIY Tips: Apply hairspray to the UV filter and evenly distribute small dots on the inner surface. If there is too much spray on the filter, wipe it down and repeat the process. Make a few test shots, spray, and adjust to get the desired dreaminess in your footage.
6. Radioactive Lenses, Sounds Cool But Is It Safe?
Before purchasing the old lenses, I wondered if it was safe to use radioactive lenses from the 1960s or 1970s. I can’t promise anything, but always use it at your own risk. However, according to a website review on the SMC Takumar lenses or other radioactive vintage lenses, it is actually safe.
You can now put your worries aside and begin shooting. So far, I’ve had a lot of fun using this lens for portrait photography!
7. The Dreamy Portraits Photoshoot Final Result
Here’s the end result of a recent dreamy portraits photoshoot with Nikki, shot with my 50mm Takumar lenses at a wide-open aperture, a DIY diffusion filter, Kodak Portra 400 film recipe on a Fujifilm X-T30, and an external flash placed at a distance. I reduced the flash power to fill the shadow on the right side of the room, allowing more natural light to enter through the window on the left.
I like the Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 50mm F1.4 for portraits because it is easy to use and takes me back to the basics of photography with manual focusing. When combined with this vintage lens, the diffusion lens filter produces dreamy portraits as well as a glowing effect that smoothes the subject’s skin. Get creative, think outside the box, and make your own colour tones without relying on any Lightroom presets.
There is no need for editing or post-processing with this SOOC method to create dreamy effects in Photoshop. This method will allow portrait photographers or influencers to devote more time to post their best photos on social media.
If you want nostalgic/retro stills and videos, this is the best combination. Making your own Pro Mist filter can help you save money for other purchases.